One of many questions you have to be ready for if you’re interviewing for a job is this one: why do you want to work for us? It sounds like a simple question, but it’s geared towards teasing out a couple of important things: whether you know anything about the company you’re applying for, whether you really want to work there, and whether you’d fit in.
This is a pretty standard question and is often suggested to interviewers as a way to find out the answers to these questions. So here are a few guidelines to answering it:
1) Work in some specific facts about the employer in your answer. You’ve been researching about the companies you’re interviewing with, right? If you haven’t been, you need to start. They expect you to have basic knowledge about what they do and who they are. And part of acing this question is showing the interviewer that you’ve done your homework. So before you go out to the interview, list two or three things you like about that company. Preferably, these should be things that are actually unique to them. If you’re interviewing at Apple, you might say “Well, I like the quirky attitude you seem to have. You’ve got a reputation of fostering creativity and I like the fact that I’d be working on products that are accessible to normal consumers.” That would at least show that you’ve seen an Ipod or an Apple commercial and know how they’re trying to brand themselves. It’s not enough on its own as an answer to point to something random like this – but it’s a key part of making your answer a good one.
2) Don’t tell them the real answer. You want to make a lot of money, and they have a good salary. You like the health benefits. The company across the street turned you down. You don’t care about their company, but you want to work in that city. 99% of the time the real answer to this question is something they don’t want to hear. The reality is that people consider things like salary first in working for a company, and things like whether they are somehow different than all the other companies you could be working for comes in a distant last. You’re expected to be spouting some corporate teamspeak here, so get used to it.
3) After saying a few positive things about the company that show you’ve researched it, segue into something about the job itself and why you think you’d be a good fit there. You don’t want to spend all your time regurgitating stuff off the company website. You have to cover that base, and then move on to talking about the job itself – answering the question of why you want to work in that particular job at that company. So your full answer for an Apple interview might be:
“Well, I like the quirky attitude you seem to have. You’ve got a reputation of fostering creativity and I like the fact that I’d be working on products that are accessible to normal consumers. I’ve got an Ipod myself, and I like the idea of going to work for a company whose products I already use. It makes me feel kind of like I have a stake in what’s going on. I also think I would be a good fit as a public relations manager. One of the things I’ve focused on in my career is marketing to young people. When I worked for Generic Public Relations Firm, I spent a lot of my time on campaigns targeted at 18-24 year olds. I enjoyed that a lot, and I think I would be pretty effective with my experience marketing a product I like using myself to a demographic I’ve got some experience marketing things to. The job here just seems like a good fit with my experience, personality, and interests.”
4) Don’t make up stuff you aren’t ready to back up. Don’t use an Ipod? Well, it’s not a good idea to pretend that you do. The people interviewing you WORK at that company. There’s a pretty good chance they can ask you some specific questions about their own company. So stick to general comments or something you actually do know about them. Don’t try to bluff on this one.
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